A Mandy Moore movie should have never graced the e-pages of Filmic Pulp. She was a decent singer, but a horrible actress.

And she still is both of those things but this movie was one that I had to see because of my Christian upbringing. Though some churches despised the film, mine went and saw it in 2004 when it came out… I didn’t go because of my own personal falling out (one in a number of falling outs) with the church. But I finally got around to seeing it tonight because it was in the library and fuck it why not.

The movie surrounds a group of pious Christian teens who go to a Christian high school. Christian or not, the shit they say will probably make you sick. All the references to Jesus in all the wrong ways, going about salvation in the most blunt and ineffective ways–it’s all here.

And when one of those girls gets pregnant because she thinks Jesus told her to fuck her boyfriend into being straight, well, things turn into shit for her. She gets pregnant and he stays gay, even getting sent to the “Mercy House,” which is where people go for “degayification.”

But, luckily, the rebellious Jew at the school is willing to take her in after seeing her walk out of Planned Parenthood, which was actually one of the funnier scenes. It played out like this:

Macaulay Culkin’s cripple: There’s only one reason an upstanding Christian girl goes into a Planned Parenthood.

Jew Girl: She planted a pipe bomb?

MCC: Okay, two reasons.

Anywho… the movie progresses from that basic premise and ends on a good note for everyone.

The movie itself was alright but the content was superb. To see how everyone acted made me cringe because that was how I wanted to act at one point in my life. Jesus fixes everything, just pray and it’ll be alright–as if there isn’t some sort of human element to the story. The beauty of this movie’s commentary is its hyperbole which makes everyone more pious and more terrible of a person just for the sake of it.

One thing that I really liked was that a sign of rebellion to these people was smoking. The Jew Girl does it and Macaulay Culkin as a cripple picks up on it when he starts rebelling. That’s the funny thing: Christians often think that smoking is a rebellious thing. And that’s why it’s portrayed as such. It’s not a sin, but it’s often perceived as one. And so only the bad kids do it.

If you’re willing to put aside Mandy Moore’s performance and get down to the heart of this film–seeing it for the satire it is–you’ll be able to enjoy it because it is well done in getting its message across. Christian fundamentalists shouldn’t be mad at this movie. Christians aren’t portrayed in a poor light in this film. It’s the zealots that are taken in a poor light. Don’t fucking force your views. Be nice, be accepting, be humble. That’s what Jesus taught us. Not to paint a 15 foot visage of him in front of your school. Be who you are in light of your beliefs. And see this movie.

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